Humans rule in `news of the weird'


December 31, 2006|By CANDUS THOMSON

They don't call it wildlife for nothing.

Every year, news reports remind us that it's a crazy world out there filled with animals doing weird things. A marlin stabs a fisherman. A coyote takes a ride on a subway car. A squirrel makes a living as a water skier.

We don't have to make stuff up here on the outdoors beat; we just have to read the wires and the writings of fellow scribblers. And it's not only the critters that fall into the wildlife category. Two-legged creatures often do the strangest things when fresh air hits them in the kisser.

Hoofin' it

Rick Lisko is a bow hunter, but the Wisconsin man bagged unusual bragging rights in November when he accidentally struck a button buck with his truck on his mile-long driveway.

The young buck had three extra legs - two in the back and one up front - and both male and female reproductive organs.

"It kind of gives you the creeps when you look at it," Lisko told The Reporter of Fond du Lac.

Wisconsin Game Warden Doug Bilgo, who checked the deer, said he had "never seen anything like that" in all his years in the field.

While the buck gave Lisko pause, he didn't wait too long.

"I did eat it," he told the newspaper. "It was tasty."

Shell game

Guards sit at the front door. The log book must be signed and name tags must be affixed before you can set foot into the inner sanctum of Maryland's Department of Natural Resources.

So how was it that someone was able to remove one very large diamondback terrapin from an 80-gallon aquarium in the DNR headquarters lobby?

The critter went missing right after the agency held a hearing July 10 on emergency regulations to protect the state's turtle.

Did animal rights activists spirit Testudo's relative away? Did a commercial waterman see some easy pickings? Was someone hankering for a hot bowl of turtle soup? It's pretty safe to say that the turtle didn't make a break for it.

Jury of your deers

A defense lawyer in Arkansas tried to delay his client's corruption trial this fall when he argued that hunters selected for the jury might be distracted because the trial was scheduled to start just before deer season.

Defense lawyer John Wesley Hall told the judge that with more than 10 percent of Lonoke County's 53,000 residents having big-game hunting licenses, there was a good chance hunters would be in the jury pool. Being selected, he said, could mean the deer season would come and go without the juror getting off a single shot.

"Suppose you're stuck here until after Dec. 10? That's the whole deer season," Hall said. "You never want to hold jurors against their will. They might hold it against everybody."

The argument failed to move Judge John Cole, even though the jurist hadn't missed an opening day in 40 years.

Misery loves company.

No false moves

After receiving numerous reports of unpleasantness between hikers and cattle along Switzerland's alpine trails, the Swiss Hiking Federation offered some advice for dealing with the herd mentality.

"Leave the animals in peace and do not touch them. Never caress a calf," the group counseled. "Do not scare the animals or look them directly in the eye. Do not wave sticks. Give a precise blow to the muzzle of the cow in the event of absolute need."

If approached by a cow, the hiking association recommended that walkers remain calm and slowly leave the area without turning their backs on the animal.

Off in the weeds

While working undercover the evening of Nov. 17, three Vermont game wardens watched as a vehicle stopped and shined a light on a decoy deer they had placed in a field.

But before they could react, the vehicle drove into the field, accelerated and slammed into the decoy, shooting it into a sub-orbit that would make NASA scientists proud.

Joseph Clark, who had his girlfriend and his 4-month-old daughter in the vehicle, told the game officers he just wanted to nudge the deer.

Clark, 31, was arrested and charged with felony unlawful mischief, taking deer by illegal means, criminal driving with license suspended and criminal possession of marijuana.

This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs.

Don't make a stink

Correction in an Audubon publication: "The urine of the red fox smells more like skunk musk than the urine of the gray fox, as stated in `Winter Yaps.' " Glad we cleared that up.

Stink, Part Two

A new exhibit at the Miami Metrozoo is called "The Scoop on Poop," and invites visitors to check out wildlife stool samples.

The zoo also is showing a video that shows the origins and many uses of poop. One scene, for example, shows a hippo using it to mark its territory.

I wouldn't take the kiddies into the gift shop.

Horton hears a who?

Tim Horton, a former Bassmaster Angler of the Year, is being threatened with a lawsuit if he continues to use his name to promote himself and gear.

Tim Hortons, a Canada-based chain of 2,800 coffee and doughnut shops, wants him to cease and desist using the name his mother gave him in 1972.

It seems when Horton, the Alabama angler, went to register his name last year with the U.S. Patent Office for a trademark, Horton, the doughnut holes, took notice and revved up its legal team.

The other Tim Horton played for the Toronto Maple Leafs and founded the chain. He was killed in a car crash two years after the angler was born.

Being a Southern gentleman, Horton decided to switch rather than fight, and tried to register Timmy Horton. But about three weeks ago the doughnut holes said that name was taken, too.

"They've asked me to quit using my name," said Horton, who will compete in the 2007 Bassmaster Classic. "It's up in the air right now. It's almost comical. I can't believe it."

What's a poor pro angler to do? Not lose his sense of humor. When asked if he might change his name, Horton said, "What about `The Fisherman Formerly Known as Tim Horton?' "

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